The Lightning’s lineup looked a little different for Game 6 against Dallas in the Stanley Cup final in Edmonton.
Coach Jon Cooper opted for defenseman Zach Bogosian and forward Alexander Volkov in place of Mitchell Stephens and Jan Rutta on Monday night in the potential Cup-clinching contest.
Bogosian hasn’t broken into the lineup since Sept. 19, in Game 1 against the Stars. The defenseman, skating in the first postseason of his career, has posted four assists in 19 games.
Volkov’s last game was 229 days ago against Edmonton on Feb. 13. The forward played with Tampa Bay on three separate stints during the regular season while the Lightning’s traditional lineup fought some injuries, starting in late October.
The 23-year-old forward said in September he likes to aim for low and above the goalie’s pad when it comes to his offensive game. It’s how he got one past Nashville’s Juuse Saros in the preseason.
In January, Volkov got another look with Tampa Bay’s traditional lineup. At the time, Cooper said he liked how the 2017 second-round pick skated with Cedric Paquette and Pat Maroon in the third line.
“We think he can help us win,” Cooper said at the time. “He came up the last time and performed well when he was with us. He has size (6 feet 1, 191 pounds); he can skate. He did all the things we asked, and then he went back to Syracuse and worked on his game.”
On Monday, Volkov drew a tripping penalty from Dallas' John Klingberg in the opening frame, which was capitalized on with a power-play goal from Brayden Point.
Stephens and Rutta skated in warmups but did not make it into the lineup.
Stephens hasn’t played since Sept. 11 against the Islanders, totaling seven postseason games (including the three round-robin games) and logging one goal in that time.
Rutta, however, missed Monday night’s game after skating in four straight against the Stars, starting with Game 2 against Dallas in which he posted one assist.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is out of the lineup for the remainder of the series. In his absence, Cooper opted to use the traditional 12-6 lineup instead of 11-7, which has been his preference since Game 2 against the Stars.